Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Cold grilled chicken is a springtime hit
As good as hot-from-the-grill chicken may be (and it is goooood) it also does good service as a leftover. The grilled flavor lends a whole new wow-factor to salads, pasta dishes, and to sandwiches made from bread of any type, from tacos to flat breads to sliced breads of any ilk.
We will leave the grilling up to you--"you" usually being a man who can stand up to the smoke and heat. It is the end product that matters here. These are suggestions for inspiration when you want to gussy up cold cooked chicken for a second visit to the table.
The recipes will work for any bits of leftover chicken and it does not matter whether they are dark or light meat. Our palates do not discriminate when the chicken is combined with other ingredients. With eyes closed most people can't discern what part of the chicken's anatomy a meal is featuring, hot or cold.
Pasta Salad Made with Grilled Chicken
This is a cool main-dish noodle salad. A perfect dish for a potluck, a one-bowl dinner at home, or a buffet. You can also make this using fresh-from-the-market whole-roasted chicken. Serve it with a mixed green salad or sliced tomatoes sprinkled with scallion rings, fresh bay leaf and bits of feta or bleu cheese. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
1 pound angel hair pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions, only until el dente. Cool down and rinse by spraying with cold water. Drain well. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Rinse the peppers and cut in half. Remove stems, core, seeds and ribs, then dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel and remove seeded center of cucumber (or use a seedless English cucumber). Cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 1/4-inch slices. Toss all of the ingredients together and dress the mixture with seasoned rice wine vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Or, with the bottled dressing of your choice. You can also use mayonnaise thinned with fresh lemon or lime juice as a dressing.
Chicken, Bacon and Blue-Cheese Sandwiches
It is now picnic time whether the picnic is in your garden, at the beach, or on a blanket, and this is the perfect excuse to make sandwiches using leftover barbecued breasts, or any chicken at all. It sounds like you won't be able to get your mouth open wide enough to eat this delicious sandwich. Never fear, you will manage and you will enjoy it.
Combine mayonnaise and curry powder to taste. A bit of mustard added to the mixture does no harm. Bring that along to the picnic in a jar, together with a jar of mango chutney and the remaining ingredients each in its own plastic bag. On site, when ready to assemble a sandwich, spread bread with mayo-curry on one slice of bread and top with chicken, spinach and cucumber slices. Spread mango chutney on the other slice of bread and cover the sandwich. It is best to cut these in two or three pieces.
Ricotta, Mint and Lemon Chicken Pasta
This is another free-form salad idea using barbecued chicken as the main ingredients. You can use any kind of pasta you happen to have but for a picnic or buffet it might be best not to chose spaghetti or noodles--something firmer and less hard to get from plate to mouth without creating a mess, would be best.
Pasta, cooked according to package directions
While cooking the pasta, at the last minute add some fresh or frozen peas. When they are cooked; drain and then toss with ricotta cheese. Mix well and then add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice and chopped fresh mint. With a fork shred the chicken meat and toss it with other salad ingredients. Then treat the pasta mixture to olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
Chicken Taco Sandwiches or Hors D'ouvres
Before grilling the chicken it wouldn't hurt to marinate it for a while in tequila or beer, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and lime juice. You can play with this a bit if you are into marinades. However, it is really not necessary to marinate the chicken at all as you will be adding hot salsa to this sandwich.
Grilled chicken, sliced or shredded or chopped
Toss the first 6 ingredients together and heap into taco shells. Serve each one topped with a dollop of sour cream. Or, you can add the sour cream to the salad mixture before piling it into the taco shells. If you choose to use the flour tacos, spread the mixture on the tacos and roll them up. You can then wrap each in waxed paper for easier eating. Or, you can slice the rolled tacos, securing each round with a tooth pick or a skewer to keep it rolled and then serve the rounds as hors d'ouvres.
Many times in life the second time around is better than the first.